News / Africa

Refugees Close In on Viva World Cup

Mubarag Abdelah Ahmed hopes to shine at his position on the right wing during the Viva World Cup. Photo - courtesy of i-Act charity.Mubarag Abdelah Ahmed hopes to shine at his position on the right wing during the Viva World Cup. Photo - courtesy of i-Act charity.
x
Mubarag Abdelah Ahmed hopes to shine at his position on the right wing during the Viva World Cup. Photo - courtesy of i-Act charity.
Mubarag Abdelah Ahmed hopes to shine at his position on the right wing during the Viva World Cup. Photo - courtesy of i-Act charity.
TEXT SIZE - +
Nico Colombant
Darfuri refugees are about to fulfill their dream of playing in an international soccer competition: the upcoming Viva men’s World Cup for stateless teams. For team members of Darfur United, it will be the culmination of years of practice, logistical challenges and surviving the horrors of conflict.

Sixteen players wearing donated green sweat suits have recently been on a marathon journey from refugee camps in Chad to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where the fifth edition of the Viva World Cup will take place from June 4 - 9.
 
It has been an incredible journey as well for Gabriel Stauring, a Californian and Darfur activist, who came up with the social media, donation and celebrity powered-idea now reaching its intended destination.
 
“We thought that it would be just a great vehicle to bring attention to the refugee situation," Stauring explained, "and what they have been through on one hand but also just to give the refugees who have been stuck in these camps now going on nine years just something positive and hopeful to participate in.”

Gabriel Stauring, pictured here with two refugees, Rahma and Murtada, has been coordinating the Darfur United effort. (Photo courtesy i-Act charity)Gabriel Stauring, pictured here with two refugees, Rahma and Murtada, has been coordinating the Darfur United effort. (Photo courtesy i-Act charity)
x
Gabriel Stauring, pictured here with two refugees, Rahma and Murtada, has been coordinating the Darfur United effort. (Photo courtesy i-Act charity)
Gabriel Stauring, pictured here with two refugees, Rahma and Murtada, has been coordinating the Darfur United effort. (Photo courtesy i-Act charity)
​ Violence continues in Sudan's western Darfur region where hostilities broke out in 2003. Over a quarter-million Darfuris have fled to eastern Chad.
 
In a video on the Darfur United blog, forward Sulieman Adam Borma said he and his teammates would act as ambassadors during their journey (watch full video below).
 
“Maybe some visitors will ask us, you are refugees in Chad, can you describe how the life is, what is the difference between here and there?  I think this is a moment of history," Borma said. "We hope to tell everybody the history of Darfur, how we made Darfur United, and how we got here, who supports us, who is helping us and what we hope will happen.”

 
Sports figures who have contributed to the Darfur United project include U.S. basketball star Tracy McGrady and British soccer icon David Beckham.
 
Project coordinator Stauring says he is getting goose bumps thinking of when Darfur United's players will kick off their tournament Tuesday against a team representing North Cyprus.
 
“When I told them about this project, one of them said, 'now I feel like we belong to the world.' So to think of them at this stage and all the refugees back home thinking about them it is more than exciting,” Stauring said.
 
Other African teams in the nine-team tournament will represent Western Sahara and Zanzibar. 
 
After the competition, Darfur United plans to hold more matches in Chad, train other refugees, and start a pilot soccer program for Darfuri refugee girls.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid